Home Time – written by El Rhodes

Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022

Watch the clock but wait for the bell. Chorus “Goodbye” to Mrs Preece. Grab your Mackintosh. Do up one button. Go back for your P.E. kit. Bet it needs a wash. “Walk, don’t run down the stairs, missy”. Pride comes before a fall. Watch for ice on the path. Mr Keene ran out of salt last week. Turn right out the gate. Swing your bag, round in a circle. Shout “Hello, Mrs Watson” to the lollipop lady who knows all your nicknames. Winks. Even if you’ve never told her. Straight down roads named after those chopped down trees. Take your time at the first road you cross alone. Wave to the bus driver coming up the hill. Stare at the air raid siren that went off a year ago. Remember how your mum dropped the tray? Cross the darkling sunken lane. Watch out for the ghost of the no-tor-ee-us highwayman Old Tom the Reaver. Wave to Mr Dean at the scout hut, if the gates are open. Say hello to the cat from number six, it never claws or spits. Cross the next road carefully. It’s where your dad had, ‘just a scratch’. Creep past Mr Christmas’ house. He’s not as friendly as his name. Check for milk under the flowerpot. Fumble for the hidden key. Let yourself in or ring the bell. Hang your coat on the proper peg. Shout “Hello? Mam? What’s for tea?” Empty your bag. Wash your hands. Sit at the table. You’re finally free.


Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 25 September 2022 (booking details to follow).

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Purchase a copy of WALKING 2022 – an illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking Home” for €4.99+p&p (see image to the left) or go for a bundle of WALKING 2022 AND WALKING 2021 – a similar illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking and Listening”- a bumper package of 27 poems and stories and save €1.50 (see image to the right). Purchase from our Shop.

Bundle of two illustrated anthologies

El Rhodes

El Rhodes

United Kingdom

I’m an archaeologist who lives between Cardiff, Wiltshire, and a small hamlet in Hertfordshire. I’m bookish and quiet but tell a good story. My work features in a wide range of anthologies, journals and competitions. In November 2021 my book ‘My Fami...

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